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Shipping Your Gear

Shipping Your Gear

Shipping Address
Aviator Audio, Inc.
23311 Highway 99
Edmonds, WA 98026

Phone# 425-778-3409

Preparation and General Guidelines
Please pack your gear well! There's nothing worse than sending your gear in to get it repaired and having to deal with shipping damage added into the equation. Here are a few tips...

Shipping/Packing Services... Nothing wrong with using one. So you're off to the local shipping store, a word of advise... Assume Nothing! Ask questions and don't assume that your local shipping store knows what they are doing; We receive packages all the time packed at what you would think would be a safe place to get things done... beep, wrong answer and someone's '59 Bassman is in pieces. Example of how to approach this - Ask the person at the counter precisely how they are going to pack your pristine Marshall JTM45. If they say "with a new box using packing peanuts", ask if they would use at least a ton of bubble wrap, or foam sheet, or blown-in foam on the corners using a professional machine (carefully on the blown-in foam method around grill cloth, can stretch or tear it if not done right). Also ask if they would pack the tubes individually (see below for details). If the answer is: "Oh don't worry, we ship things like this all the time in packing peanuts and they get there fine."... you should run away, far away! So, you ran away and now for you and the rest of the do-it-yourself crowd...

Pull the tubes and prepare the item!... Never ship an amp with the tubes in the sockets, it's just asking to get at minimum the guide pins busted off and worse have your prized set of KT66's busted in hundreds of pieces all over the inside of your amp. Number them left to right from the rear of the amp with a felt pen on the top usually (anywhere not on the lettering or numbers) and pull 'em, wrap them in bubble wrap individually, and place them inside the rear of the amp (the numbering part helps us return the tubes to their original locations so we can more rapidly assess the problems you reported and look for failures in the associated circuitry). You can also put them in a box in the back of the amp after bubble wrapping each one. Box or not, stuff newspaper or bubble wrap to fill the void in the back of the amp so your nicely wrapped tubes don't move around. If your preamp tubes have nice tight shields you may be ok most of the time, but we've seen several amps come in with shields in place and having at least one broken preamp tube anyway from heavy shock loads... best to pull them all. Once you have all the tubes pulled and tucked away, surround the amp with shrink wrap (the wrap at the store works if you don't have access to the real stuff, just go around several times) or use a trash bag and tape it... the idea here is to surround the equipment and keep out packing debris as well as minimize scuffing against the packing materials.

Select a suitable box... It should be double walled for heavy items and not beat up, using a new box is highly recommended especially for heavy items. It should be bigger than the item you are shipping to accommodate the packing materials; assume a person or a conveyer system will drop it and take the "squish" area carefully into consideration. Consult your intended shippers' website for their packing guidelines.. if they say 4" for example between your item and the box they are probably not kidding as that's generally the distance it takes for a forklift operator to bring the thing to a stop while it penetrates your box... just kidding (or maybe not..). Just use common sense as it will get beat up a bit. If it's really heavy consider double boxing or crating it.

Use suitable packing materials... Packing peanuts by themselves are not suitable for heavy items, anything larger than an effect box should not be packed with packing peanuts alone. The problem is larger items shipped only in peanuts not only tend to migrate to one side of the box, but the peanuts will settle as well as compress which accelerates the migration... once your item has nothing between it and the outside world but the thin cardboard of the box it will get damaged, count on it. Bubble wrap is fine but can be expensive on larger items. We've seen some bubble wrap that has deflated in transit so only use high quality bubble wrap (note: anything with sharp corners and forget the bubble wrap.). We suggest using sheet and/or block styrofoam on most items, surrounding the item entirely and only using peanuts to fill in the voids. Nothing wrong with double boxing either, but double boxing will not eliminate migration in peanuts irregardless of what anyone tells you. If you don't like peanuts use styrofoam sheet and/or block and use craft paper or newspaper to fill the voids if any... never pack anything with just craft paper or newspaper alone, it will compress as well. In any case be carefull around the grill cloth on cabs... best to go for foam on the corners only on these with nothing but air against the grillcloth (like flat panel TV's are packed). Professional foam machines with competent operators are a real blessing for cabs.

Use good packing tape... Can't stress this enough! We regularly get in packages coming apart because someone used cheapo tape or didn't use enough, don't go bargain basement on tape.

Insurance... Don't skimp here! Declare that thing for the true replacement value! That couple extra bucks for Insurance is well worth it and not to be taken lightly; packages are lost all the time and damaged even with the best packing job. Keep in mind that most carriers will not reimburse you for hidden damage... e.g. unless the box is damaged on the outside it's a real pain to successfully get reimbursed. Even more reason to pack very well and don't cut corners. You may want to seek out supplemental insurance if it's a really rare or pricey item.

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